Man killed as ‘militant’ was innocent: Indian police
22 February 2007
Srinagar: An alleged militant who security forces claimed was killed in a gunbattle in Indian Kashmir last year was instead “beyond doubt” a small-town carpenter killed in custody, police said on Thursday. Police said the man, who was exhumed from an unmarked grave in Kashmir this month for DNA tests to determine his identity, belonged to a family that had claimed him missing, and was not a militant as claimed by security forces. “The DNA samples taken from a body have matched with those of the carpenter's relatives, proving beyond doubt that he was killed in custody and later declared a militant,” a police officer told AFP. The victim, Abdul Rahman Padder, was reportedly detained in Srinagar in December 2006. He was killed and later described by police as a Pakistani militant. Police and security forces are awarded cash and promotions for killing militants in the state, where an insurgency against New Delhi's rule has raged since 1989 and claimed at least 44,000 lives. But the case of Padder led to mass protests in Kashmir and calls by human rights groups and state political leaders to punish the guilty.